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Good old-fashioned road-tanned hides

Posted on May 25th, 2009 Be the first to comment

I wasn’t intending on writing about bicycles in Toronto quite so soon again, but then the mayor said this:

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mayor David Miller, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim May 25 – June 25, 2009 as ‘Bike Month‘ and encourage everyone to get outside and ride!” — here’s the PDF.

Guess that’s Life for ya — in the City of Toronto, no less. Unfortunately Bill Carroll wasn’t on hand this morning to appraise the situation; perhaps he’s at home fearing for his life. Us bikers can be a pretty aggressive bunch, it’s true.

Yes, I biked today. My highly affordable and questionably-constructed Freespirit Aluminum Concept 6061 (that’s the name … can you find the web site? … ‘cuz I can’t), made the ride quite exciting. Aside from the single occasion I had to explain, in passing and quite loudly, why a truck didn’t need to block not only my lane but also the lane of traffic next to me just to make a left turn, it was a pretty smooth ride. The pavement needed some work in sections and I could see someone getting a surprise facial makeover if they weren’t careful, but for the most part the ride was without incident. Cars were unexpectedly cautious; perhaps it was the gentle swaying motion or the empty liquor bottle I was dangling loosely from my left hand, but everyone seemed to give me a pretty wide berth.

The biggest annoyances on the road today were actually the other cyclists. I’ll be honest, I don’t really care how stupid they’re being in front of cars or trucks because, let’s face it, that’s Darwin’s theory being played out in perfect harmony with the universe. It’s nature’s way of preserving a base level of intelligence in the general population, don’t you think? If the need to show their brains pubicly is really that profound, what goddam right do I have to stop them? But when they start pulling that shit in front of other cyclists or pedestrians, it’s a bit different.

It was mostly the inattention that got me: making a turn and simply not looking anywhere but forward; cutting out in front of cars on red lights; pulling out across the middle of the lane or the sidewalk and just sitting there; sometimes it’s just an unnecessary inconvenience and sometimes it’s just plain dangerous. Perhaps the topic of a future Guide to Urban Insolence for drivers?

Speaking of dangerous biking, this month is being kicked off with a close-quarters free-for-all race called the Criterium which, if the photographs speak true, promises some good old-fashioned road-tanned hides. The starting-line scrimmage should be wipeout central — *THE* place to be! I’m so excited that I’ve taken to wearing Depends all the time now.

Unfortunately, not everything will be this festive. The month-long celebration allows you to pack the pounds you’ve lost back on with a variety of pancake breakfasts and a bike tour of Dufflet stores. I think the Dufflet slogan should be: “Does this in any way taste like you want to know how many calories it has?” They have very very tasty cakes. Very tasty. For a reason.

There are a bunch of workshops and a couple of parades where people from all walks of life get to exclaim “I love to ride!”, which if you interpret it sexually as I do most things, is quite funny. I’m not sure what’s going on with the Leslie Street Spit other than some people bitching about the cormorants, but it’s going to be a popular destination with at least two tours of the area and another just across the water on Ward’s island. There are also a variety of group events such as the “Tuesday Ravine Ride”, “Wednesday Night Ride”, “Fast and Furious Friday Night Ride”, and the popular “Weekend rides” which are also open to enjoyably sexual connotations.

Are you going to ride your bike tomorrow?

  • What is this "bike" you speak of? (40%)
  • I'll think about it. (30%)
  • Are you kidding? That's not even an option! (10%)
  • I'm on the "yes" side of maybe. (10%)
  • I'm surgically attached to my bike. So yes. (10%)

Most readers say: What is this "bike" you speak of?

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Filed under: B Sides

The Practical Gentleman’s Guide to Urban Insolence no.2

Posted on April 14th, 2009 Be the first to comment

Crack, ganja, crystal meth, heroin, PCP; I understand why people smoke this stuff. Cigarettes; totally beyond me.

You don’t have to try ‘em to know, most drugs will mess you up in one way or another, more or less. Seems like you get good bang for your buck most of the time. Cigarettes do what…give you a head rush for a couple of minutes? Seems like an awful cheap buzz to me.

But whatever. Just, please, try to keep it downwind when you’re near a group. It just seems like a courteous thing to do, you know?

I was set to thinking down this path by events that took place in the second installment (here’s the first)  in what I’m now calling the The Practical Gentleman’s Guide to Urban Insolence. I think it has a nice ring to it. The practical aspect comes from the truly useful actionable advice I can offer when confronted with unpleasantness; such as the gentleman who managed to blanket a group of people with his Malboro so entirely, he hardly seemed to notice the harsh glances he was getting from downwind. Mostly, I think, people were upset because he abandoned his spot even further downwind for this prime location, seemingly for no other reason than he enjoyed the view.

I suppose he has as much right to smoke as I do to not and, you know, there’s that entire “well if not on the sidewalk, then where?” thing. Yeah, just take it down there where it don’t bother so many people.

Common — as in, for most people — Courtesy — as in, it’s a nice thing to do.

This would not be the practical gentleman’s guide if there weren’t some advice on dealing with the more societally obtuse subjects for whom courtesy is neither common nor a word in the vocabulary.

I’m certain this may have been suggested before (on a smaller scale), but I was thinking that as a planned group demonstration, this could be quite effective.

First would come the day-before meals. They would have to be planned very carefully to be as friendly to the bacteria in the lower intestine as possible; foods like cabbage, onions, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and beans. There are other alternatives that will work better for others, but it’d be hard to go wrong either way. It’s the effort that counts!

The next day, spotting the offending target, the group would all line up upwind and face all gluteous maximii at said target. At the mark, all would release the most rancorous, malodorous, belching fart they could muster, and send it on its way with a kiss. The breeze would do all the work, delivering the malevolent chemical message to the receiving party.

Job well done! High-fives all around!

Then run.

Filed under: B Sides